Latitudinal and interhemispheric variation of stratospheric effects on mesospheric ice layer trends

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Abstract

[1] Latitudinal and interhemispheric differences of model results on trends in mesospheric ice layers and background conditions are analyzed. The model nudges to European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts data below ∼45 km. Greenhouse gas concentrations in the mesosphere are kept constant. Temperature trends in the mesosphere mainly come from shrinking of the stratosphere and from dynamical effects. Water vapor increases at noctilucent cloud (NLC) heights and decreases above due to increased freeze drying caused by temperature trends. There is no tendency for ice clouds in the Northern Hemisphere for extending farther southward with time. Trends of NLC albedo are similar to satellite measurements, but only if a time period longer than observations is considered. Ice cloud trends get smaller if albedo thresholds relevant to satellite instruments are applied, in particular at high polar latitudes. This implies that weak and moderate NLC is favored when background conditions improve for NLC formation, whereas strong NLC benefits less. Trends of ice cloud parameters are generally smaller in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) compared to the Northern Hemisphere (NH), consistent with observations. Trends in background conditions have counteracting effects on NLC: temperature trends would suggest stronger ice increase in the SH, and water vapor trends would suggest a weaker increase. Larger trends in NLC brightness or occurrence rates are not necessarily associated with larger (more negative) temperature trends. They can also be caused by larger trends of water vapor caused by larger freeze drying, which in turn can be caused by generally lower temperatures and/or more background water. Trends of NLC brightness and occurrence rates decrease with decreasing latitude in both hemispheres. The latitudinal variation of these trends is primarily determined by induced water vapor trends. Trends in NLC altitudes are generally small. Stratospheric temperature trends vary differently with altitude in the NH and SH but add up to similar trends at mesospheric cloud heights.

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